As remote jobs skyrocketed in 2020 due to the global pandemic, this birthed the rise in the use of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, which then became an essential tool for holding meetings and general workplace connection.
Barely months into 2020, as the lockdowns and quarantines began, the number of daily Zoom meeting participants skyrocketed to 200 million, according to the company’s CEO, Eric Yuan. As the platform continues to play a prominent role in daily communication, it would be highly advantageous to brush up on your Zoom skills so you can host and coordinate meetings like a pro.
Tips to Improve Your Zoom Meetings
Below are seven ways through which you can accomplish this.
Customize Your Default Settings
Zoom built its features to accommodate dozens of divergent settings. Each option aids seamless communication and allows the technology to fit your needs.
You’ve to make the most of your Zoom options by customizing your default settings to suit your needs. By customizing your settings ahead of time, you ensure that you host and participate professionally and without error.
Some recommended options are:
- Ensure to join meetings muted and without audio, so you can turn on when ready and match other participants’ video settings to do this follow these steps: go to settings > Video & Audio Sections > Turn Off Upon Entering).
- Ensure to turn on the “Touch Up Appearance” this increases the video quality and makes you look clearer and refreshed for all meetings to do this follow this step: go to settings > Video > Touch Up Appearance).
- Ensure you select the “Hide Non-Video Participants” option to keep your Zoom screen focused on the most important parties, which is useful for large group meetings to do this follow this step: go to settings > Video > Hide Non-Video Participants.
- Ensure to select “None” under the “Background & Filter” option to always present yourself professionally upon entering a room and to do this follow this step: go to settings > Background & Filter > None.
- Ensure you choose a preferred location to store Zoom recordings for easy accessibility, rather than the Zoom default, which can be hard to locate, to do this follow this step: go to settings > Recording > Store
- Always ensure you turn on “Always Display Names” so as to never worry about forgetting or mispronouncing a participant’s name, to do this follow this step: go to settings > Video > Always Display Names
Set Your Security Measures
While true that Zoom experienced massive growth in 2020, it also had to address serious security and privacy issues in the process, which includes “Zoombombing,” in which uninvited guests break in and disrupt meetings with hate speech and other varying offensive content.
To display how it has tried to fix these problems in the ensuing months, Zoom had to send out a company-wide letter in December 2020 which detailed some of its heightened security measures put in place to protect rooms from unknown entrants. For example, as a host, you have the security controls at your fingertips with a dedicated “Security” icon on the main interface to select security choices, confirm only the participants you want, and report unwanted users.
Other features like the “Waiting Room” enable you to enter the room first, take a few moments to gather yourself, and welcome individuals only when you’re set. Furthermore, meetings are password-protected via a “Meeting Passcode” or “Personal Meeting Passcode,” and Zoom locks these features depending on your account type.
Learn the Zoom Main Shortcuts
Through the use of shortcuts, you can work on your audio, video, sharing, and recording in an instant using your keyboard. This way, you can improve your Zoom skills, become more proficient as a communicator, and never have to stare at your screen trying to find what you need.
Below are some of the most important shortcuts to remember for PC:
- Mute/Unmute: Shift + Cmd + A (Alt + A for PC)
- Start Recording: Cmd + Shift + R (Alt + R for PC)
- Raise/Lower Hand: Opt + Y (Alt + Y for PC)
- Temporarily Unmute: Space (Alt + M for PC)
- Enter/Exit Full Screen: Shift + Cmd + F (Alt + F for PC)
- Start/Stop Screen Sharing: Shift + Cmd + S (Alt + Shift + S for PC)
- Show/Hide Chat Panel: Shift + Cmd + H (Alt + H for PC)
- Start/Stop Video: Shift + Cmd + V (Alt + V for PC)
Always Record Your Sessions
Recording your sessions is paramount cause you never know when you’d need to replay a particular conversation or share a meeting with team members. Recording all your sessions is a good habit to possess, and Zoom makes it seamless to record, thereby eliminating the need for rapid note-taking. Just start your discussion and click “Record” on the bottom menu bar or find it within the “More” section.
Encourage Participation With Chats and Reactions
One of the most fundamental roles as a Zoom host is to encourage participation. We already know virtual meetings can cause communication failure between participants who want to share an idea simultaneously. So to solve this problem, you can guide your attendees to the “Reaction” and “Chat” functions.
While the reaction button makes it easy for participants to engage and praise their colleagues through the click of a button, the Chat button allows participants to share in-meeting notes and give quick feedbacks in a separate window so they won’t interrupt the conversation. Nevertheless, make sure to ask your participants to keep messages short so they won’t distract those who are speaking.
Announce Yourself When Speaking
Zoom meetings are designed to bring your teams together to increase collaboration. But sometimes rooms can become overwhelming if there are dozens of participants in a meeting. The primary Zoom screen will comfortably fit 16 people, while others are accessible by clicking through the different pages of Zoom faces. If you have more than 16 people present, kindly request each person announces themselves before speaking.
This helps other participants to quickly locate the individual speaking, which usually brings more of an in-person feeling to the proceedings. Additionally, promote the “Raise Hand” feature (Participants > More > Raise Hand) whenever any participant wants to participate in the group discussion.
Remember Lighting and Background
This final tip isn’t related to the Zoom software itself, but it is just as important: Ensure your background and lighting are as clear and professional as possible.
For some people, their home has become their work office, children’s school, and more. If you fall into this category of people, it means that clutters are likely to accumulate and show up in your background. Below are easy steps that will have you looking like a Zoom expert:
- Locate and position yourself in front of an uncluttered background, such as a plain wall or tidy sofa area. A clean space means your participants would not get distracted by your home.
- When possible, put as much natural light in front of your face as possible. The light will ensure a crisp video and create a warm glow on your face.
By now I’m sure you’ve gotten every trick and tip needed to use Zoom like a pro, and I hope you can improve your Zoom meetings with all the steps exposed to you in this article. Goodluck.